Suffering an injury in an accident can turn your life upside-down in an instant. It’s even worse when someone else caused the accident. Personal injury claims exist to help you recover your losses so that you do not have to shoulder the financial burden of the accident’s consequences.
Most injury claims end when the injured party’s attorney reaches a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurer. However, some claims never reach this point because the parties cannot agree on a mutually acceptable compensation package. In such cases, the only way to recover your losses is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
A deposition is one of the steps in the discovery process in a lawsuit. Because the deposition requires answering questions asked by a defense attorney, many people feel anxious about the prospect. However, the process can feel less overwhelming if you know what to expect.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is a formal interview that takes place before a courtroom trial can begin. Any party directly involved in a civil lawsuit will need to answer questions from the other side’s lawyer. You will receive a summons to appear at a specific time and place, usually at the office of an attorney or a court reporter, who will also be present to take down the questions and answers over the course of the interview. As the deposition is an official legal proceeding, you will answer all questions under oath.
What Is the Purpose of a Personal Injury Deposition?
A personal injury deposition allows both parties to access vital information about the accident, your injuries, and the losses you have suffered. The deposition will provide an opportunity for both parties to scrutinize the merits of your claim. They can then use their updated case assessment to refine their courtroom strategies.
What Do I Do During a Deposition?
You may have your personal injury lawyer with you during the deposition. If necessary, they can take steps to ensure that the opposing attorney’s questions stay relevant to your claim. Before the deposition, your attorney will prepare you to answer the other side’s questions without assuming fault for the accident.
The deposition will begin when you swear to give correct and true answers to the best of your knowledge, and you must ensure that your responses are as truthful as possible. The defendant’s lawyer will already know a great deal about who you are and the facts and circumstances of the accident. If they have reason to believe that you are misrepresenting yourself or exaggerating your claims, you will be discrediting yourself in the eyes of the court. Tell the truth so that you do not risk losing everything.
What Will They Ask Me?
The defense attorney will start by asking you a few questions about basic facts, such as:
- Your name
- Your employment background
- Your medical history
- Whether you have filed other legal claims
- Whether you have a criminal background
- Other aspects of your health and life
They will then ask you questions pertaining directly to the accident and your injuries so they can gather information about:
- Medical treatments you have received since the accident
- Physical impairments or disabilities you have suffered because of your accident-related injuries
- Any time you have needed to take off work because of the accident
- Other ways the accident may have affected your life
When answering questions, try to respond as calmly and clearly as possible.
What Happens After the Deposition?
After the interview, the court reporter will take a few weeks to prepare their official deposition transcript. When it is complete, your lawyer will receive a copy. If they believe the interview will affect your case significantly, they may give you their assessment of the status of your case.
The defendant’s insurer may ask you to be examined by an independent medical professional. The outcome of the examination may prompt them to consider settling before the trial begins. If not, your case will likely proceed to court.
Contact an Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
If you are like most people, you are probably not looking forward to sitting for a deposition. However, with the right attorney on your side, you can feel prepared and confident throughout the process. The seasoned Indianapolis personal injury lawyers of Hankey Marks & Crider will vigorously represent you in your claim or lawsuit to optimize your chances of a favorable outcome.